Swap Meet
Season 5
Number 5
Writer Carol Mendelsohn,
David Rambo,
Naren Shankar
Director Danny Cannon
Original Airdate October 28, 2004
Previous Episode: Crow's Feet
Next Episode: What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?

Swap Meet is the fifth episode in Season Five of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Grissom, Greg and Sara investigate when a woman is found dead in the fountain of a gated community after visiting a neighborhood swingers party. Meanwhile, Nick and Warrick investigate the murder of a landlord in a video arcade, which develops into a double homicide. Catherine requests the position of day shift supervisor from Grissom.


Victim: Vanessa Keaton (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

A wild swingers party is happening in the house of Erin and Paul Brady, and just about every couple in the neighborhood seems to be in attendance. A scream is later heard and Vanessa Keaton is found dead in a fountain in the middle of the cul de sac. Brass catches Grissom and Sara up to speed, and Grissom notices that the onlookers are well-dressed. He's told that there was a party in the neighborhood and he has Sara photograph the crowd, for any one of them could be a suspect. David Phillips points out the foam in Vanessa's nose and mouth, which would indicate drowning. Her time of death is put at no more than two hours ago.

Brass questions Vanessa's husband, Dan, and his 15-year-old daughter, Amy. Dan says that he left the Brady's at 11:00 PM because he wasn't in the mood for partying; however, his wife was. Amy tells Brass that she got home late and broke her 1:00 AM curfew, snuck into the house, and went to bed. She adds that Vanessa is her stepmother. Outside, Greg and Sara process the crime scene while the body is hauled away. Sara finds a high-heeled shoe in the fountain and quizzes Greg on what he sees. Greg guesses that Vanessa had too much to drink, took her shoes off, and played in the fountain. She then walked on the concrete around the fountain, slipped, hit her head, and drowned. Sara says that there's no blood or hair evidence on the concrete, but Greg posits that the water could've washed it away. Since the facts aren't completely known, Sara has Greg bag the shoe and take a water sample.

Doc Robbins tells Grissom that Vanessa's cause of death was a pulmonary edema due to drowning, while the abrasion on her forehead was serious enough to cause loss of consciousness. He shows Grissom four uniform puncture wounds on Vanessa's back that occurred perimortem and, since there are no holes in the dress she was wearing, she wasn't wearing it when she was stabbed. The doc adds that he collected lubricant from Vanessa's privates and sent a sexual assault example to DNA. When paired with the expensive lingerie Vanessa was wearing, Doc Robbins believes that she had quite a night planned.

David Hodges shows Greg that the water found in Vanessa's lungs and the water from the fountain aren't a match. He adds that the water from the fountain is heavily chlorinated, while the water in Vanessa's lungs contains polymethyl hexylene biguanide, a chlorine alternative. From this, Greg concludes that Vanessa drowned in a pool or spa. Greg, Grissom and Sara take water samples of every pool and spa in the neighborhood. Dan Keaton tells Sara that it's possible that his wife was swimming after he left the party, but that everyone at the party was friends with each other. He claims he wouldn't have left Vanessa alone with strangers. Meanwhile, at the Brady residence, Greg takes a sample of the pool water while Brass and Grissom talk to the Bradys. Erin Brady says that everyone in the neighborhood took turns hosting parties once per month and she recognizes Vanessa's dress from a photo. She also confirms that Dan left the party an hour before his wife and didn't appear to be in agitated state. In the house, Grissom notes how clean everything is despite there being a party the night before. He spots a case on the kitchen counter; when he opens it, he sees that two skewers are missing out of a set of four. The skewers could explain the puncture wounds on Vanessa's back. Erin claims that she doesn't know where the other two skewers are. The dishwasher finishes its cycle; upon opening it, Grissom finds several sex toys.

Greg brings lab tech Mia Dickerson a bunch of stuff from the Brady house, including the skewers and 26 used condoms. Mia tests everything and later tells Greg and Grissom that, while DNA from the skewers was washed away by the dishwasher, the condoms contained DNA from ten different males and eleven different females, including victim Vanessa Keaton. The DNA results show that Vanessa had sex with four different men the night she died. Grissom and Brass question Erin while Sara talks to Paul. Erin admits that her and Paul are swingers and that it saved their marriage. She admits that the Keatons were invited to the parties because Vanessa was very attractive and into the lifestyle; however, Dan was apparently more of a one-woman man. Both Erin and Paul maintain that nobody at the party was having an affair and that the parties have rules—arrive as a couple and leave as a couple, no drugs, always wear condoms, no photos, no videos, sex with someone else is allowed only at the parties, and no kids are ever allowed to know. After all of the questioning, Sara tells Grissom that, although she's supposed to be objective, she has a problem with the lifestyle. Grissom replies that everyone involved is a consenting adult and that swinging isn't illegal. Sara strongly believes that Vanessa's murder was a crime of passion, adding that if one needs to go outside of the marriage for passion, the marriage is in trouble.

Grissom gets a call and is informed that the water in Vanessa's lungs came from the spa belonging to Meg and Tom Cunningham, another couple from the party. While Brass questions them at their house, Grissom finds blood evidence on the stone around the spa. The Cunninghams tell Brass that they left the party at 11:30 PM and went to the Bellagio for a night out. While Tom is speaking, he puts his hand around his wife's shoulder. Grissom's keen eye notices that Meg stiffens and looks down at Tom's hand before relaxing. When told that a DNA sample will be needed, Tom admits to having had sex with Vanessa, Erin Brady and Mallory Stone during the party.

Brass questions Meg Cunningham and is able to quickly unravel her story. He tells her that lying for her husband is conspiracy after the fact and that it could land her in jail. The hotel maid at the Bellagio confirmed that Meg wasn't with her husband during the night in question; in fact, she was seen with a blonde in her late 20's who even paid for breakfast with her credit card. Meg caves and tells her that she lied because her husband told her to think about their son; however, she maintains that she has no idea what went on between Tom and Vanessa.

Grissom and Sara go the Cunningham's house to gather evidence. In the study, Sara finds a drawer full of pornography; inside one of the magazines is a webcam photo of a woman from the neck down. The woman in the photo is wearing the same lingerie Vanessa was killed in, so Grissom and Sara surmise that the woman in the photo is Vanessa. In the morgue, they pull Vanessa's body from the freezer and, after comparing it with the photo, find that woman in the photo is actually someone else. David Phillips interrupts and shows them bruising on Vanessa's back that wasn't there during autopsy. Based on the bruising, Grissom and Sara are able to see that Vanessa wasn't stabbed four times with a skewer; instead, she was stabbed twice with a two-pronged instrument.

Greg goes to the Cunningham's house and finds evidence of blood on a barbecue fork. In the lab, Sara goes through Tom Cunningham's computer and finds a lot of back and forth between the Cunninghams and Keatons. Tom received an email from "sweetkeat" that contains the photo in question. He replied that he would meet the mystery girl at midnight behind a skate park. Security footage from the park shows Tom and a blonde getting into the back of his SUV. It's revealed that the blonde is 15-year-old Amy Keaton; Tom is told that he's looking at statutory rape despite his insistence that Amy came onto him.

Amy is questioned with her father present. Dan is irate after being told what happened and threatens to kill Tom. Amy replies that Tom loves her and that all of the kids in the neighborhood were aware of the parties. Grissom shows them the barbecue fork and tells them that the blood on the fork is Vanessa's, while the prints recovered are Amy's. A flashback shows Tom and Vanessa sitting in the Cunningham's pool kissing. When Amy arrived and saw this, she stabbed her stepmother twice in a fit of jealous rage. Grissom informs her that the stab wounds didn't kill Vanessa, but she was knocked unconscious and it took her a few minutes to drown. Amy contends that Tom was trying to protect her, so they moved the body to the fountain. She continues to repeat that Tom loves her and asks if she can see him.

Grissom and Sara walk down the hallway and recite the rules from the swingers party, emphasizing the fact that "the kids must never know."

Victim: Mr. Basengi (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Chris Cavaliere

In a video arcade, Nick and Warrick look over a scene that contains a lot of blood. The victim, who is also the establishment's landlord, appears to have been run through the table saw while he was working late. They spot an eviction notice, and Nick tells Warrick that the evicted tenants are Melissa Poolie and Charlie Pinscher. The eviction notice also seems to eliminate robbery as a motive—no business means no cash. They're interrupted by Marty Gleason, a member of the crime scene cleanup (or "bio recovery services") team. Per the landlord's widow, Marty wants them to clear the scene so he can get to work, as the new tenant is supposed to move in on the first of the month.

Nick and Det. Cavaliere talk to Charlie Pinscher, who tells them that he had every dime he owned tied up in the arcade. He went into business with his girlfriend, Melissa Poolie; however, the relationship didn't work out and she skipped town, leaving Charlie to come up with the rent. Charlie admits to having called the landlord the night he was killed, but they couldn't reach an agreement. Nick takes Charlie's fingerprints despite Charlie insisting that his fingerprints will be all over the arcade.

In the lab, Nick and Warrick look over the crime scene photos. Nick says that the only items brought into the arcade post-eviction were the tools, tarps, and paint cans—none of which contain Charlie's prints. However, the landlord's prints and some unknown prints were recovered. Warrick adds that the table saw was a rental, so it could contain many prints irrelevant to the case. He also believes that, since blood was everywhere, it likely splashed onto the killer's clothes and shoes. They're interrupted by the receptionist and told that Marty is there and refuses to leave. Marty accuses the CSIs of messing with him, as there was a weird smell coming from the scene after they left. A perplexed Nick and Warrick maintain their ignorance and innocence. The three of them head back to the arcade, where the decomp smell is now noticeable. Nick and Warrick are unable to immediately pinpoint where the smell is coming from, so Warrick turns the thermostat all the way up and they all head out to lunch.

While they all eat lunch, Marty brags to Nick and Warrick about how profitable his crime scene cleanup business is and even offers the CSIs a job, which they quickly decline. The landlord's widow stops by and asks Marty what is taking so long; he blames the CSIs while using a fake southern accent to "put the bereaved at ease." Inside the arcade, Nick and Warrick are able to find where the decomp smell is coming from. They open the back of the Ms. Pac-Man machine to find a dead female body wrapped in plastic.

Charlie Pinscher is brought in for questioning again. From dental records, the dead body is identified as Melissa Poolie, meaning his story of her skipping town was wrong. There's also evidence that Melissa had sex with the landlord before her death. A flashback shows Charlie freaking out about this revelation and killing Melissa as she demeaned him. He then wrapped her body in plastic and stuffed it in the back of the Ms. Pac-Man machine; however, he had a problem after being told that he was being evicted and that the landlord was keeping all of the stuff. Another flashback shows Charlie asking the landlord for only the Ms. Pac-Man machine; when the landlord refused, Charlie pushed him down into the table saw. Back in interrogation, Nick tells Charlie that when someone is killed with a table saw, blood gets everywhere. He guesses that, despite Charlie's best efforts, he likely has the landlord's blood on him somewhere. Nick admires Charlie's watch and informs him that phenylalanine can detect the tiniest amount of blood. An increasingly distressed Charlie admits to killing the landlord accidentally; however, he's still adamant that he didn't kill Melissa. In fact, he didn't know Melissa's body was somewhere in the arcade.

The blood recovered from Charlie's watch is a match to the landlord, Mr. Basengi. Warrick visits Doc Robbins, who tells him that Melissa's cause of death was blunt force trauma; there's no trace inside the wound track. Based on the depth, width, and shape of the wound, the doc guesses that the weapon used could've been a pipe. Nick and Warrick head back to the arcade to look for a murder weapon. Warrick believes that since the table saw was a weapon of opportunity, there might be another one nearby. Because the business was cash only and Charlie didn't own a gun license, the CSIs figure he had to defend his business in some way. Warrick walks around the cash register and finds a baseball bat.

It's revealed that blood in the cracks of the bat belong to Melissa and that fingerprints recovered from the bat belong to Mrs. Basengi, the landlord's widow. A flashback shows Melissa and Mrs. Basengi having an argument, with Mrs. Basengi telling Melissa that sex was an unacceptable form of rent payment. Melissa told her to go to hell, to which Mrs. Basengi responded by hitting her in the back of the head with the bat. She then wrapped the body in plastic and stuffed it in the back of the Ms. Pac Man machine.

Marty stops Nick and Warrick in the hall and is mad that they closed the case before Mrs. Basengi was able to pay him for his services. Nick and Warrick tell him that Grissom talked to the Sheriff and that Marty will get paid, after all. Marty wonders if he'll be getting a big city contract, but Nick and Warrick ignore the question and walk away.

Meanwhile, Catherine has learned that Conrad Ecklie has been promoted to Assistant Director. She speaks with Grissom and tells him that she wants the day shift supervisor job Ecklie left behind in order to spend more time with Lindsey. After she rambles on, Grissom tells her that the day shift supervisor role includes solving problems, meaning that Catherine will have to leave her personal problems at home. Catherine knows she's more than capable of handling the position, and Grissom agrees. He tells her that he sent in her performance results, gave her 100%, and even put in a good word with the Director. Grissom finishes by telling Catherine that he hopes she gets the position.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Aisha Tyler as Mia Dickerson
  • José Zúniga as Detective Chris Cavaliere
  • James Patrick Stuart as Adam Matthews
  • Victoria Prescott as Judy Tremont
  • Pruitt Taylor Vince as Marty Gleason
  • Dina Meyer as Meg Cunningham
  • Henri Lubatti as Charlie Pincher
  • Doug Savant as Paul Brady
  • Dedee Pfeiffer as Erin Brady
  • Robert Curtis Brown as Dan Keaton
  • Ed Quinn as Tom Cunningham
  • Danielle Savre as Amy Keaton
  • Penelope Alexis as Mallory Stone
  • Amy Benedict as Mrs. Basengi
  • James DiStefano as Mr. Basengi
  • Pam Green as Vanessa Keaton
  • Ted Mattison as Alex Stone
  • Erin Spencer as Melissa Poolie
  • Danielle Petty as Brenda Peters (uncredited)
  • Rife Sibley as Joe Peters (uncredited)

Major Events[]

  • Catherine finds out that Conrad Ecklie has been promoted to Assistant Director and tells Grissom that she wants the newly vacant day shift supervisor position.


  • Vertigo by U2
  • Pride by Syntax


  • When Catherine is ranting to Grissom about wanting the day shift supervisor role, she mentions that her daughter, Lindsey, is starved for attention and has been hitchhiking to Fremont Street. Lindsey did this in the episode Harvest.


  • Dina Meyer, who played Meg Cunningham, also appears in the Season Eleven episode The List, playing a different character. She also appeared in the CSI:Miami episode Deep Freeze (Season Six).

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 5
Viva Las VegasDown the DrainHarvestCrow's FeetSwap MeetWhat's Eating Gilbert Grissom?FormalitiesCh-Ch-ChangesMea CulpaNo Humans InvolvedWho Shot Sherlock?SnakesNesting DollsUnbearableKing BabyBig MiddleCompulsionSpark of Life4 x 4Hollywood BrassCommittedWeeping WillowsIcedGrave Danger, Part 1Grave Danger, Part 2